Gonzales: Water Resource Management Office set up

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales address the media on upcoming and past weather activities, at the Ministry of Public Utilities, St. Clair on Wednesday. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

PUBLIC Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales has said that to aid in ensuring the sustainability of the water sector, a new office called the Office of Water Resource Management has been established. Because of this, he said, the functions of the water resource agency in the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) will be legally removed.

He was speaking at a press conference at the ministry in Port of Spain on Wednesday morning.

From the left: Trinidad and Tobago Met Service Corporate Communication Officer Camille Hall-Graham, Meteorologist Gary Benjamin, Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales and Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service Acting Climatologist Kaidar Kissoon, address the media on upcoming and past weather activities at the Ministry of Public Utilities, St. Clair, on Wednesday. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

He said as water patterns become “more volatile and unpredictable,” there is great need for the national integrated water resource management policy recently approved by Cabinet.

The document on the ministry’s website says it sought to manage water resources “to provide not only a reliable water supply to meet present demands of all but to ensure sustainability of supply and the available water resources of the country to meet the needs of future generations.”

Gonzales said it provides a “holistic and integrated framework” for promoting co-ordination and sustainable development of the country’s water resources.

He said the new office will manage surface, ground- and near-shore coastal waters for regulating water abstraction and use, establish minimum stream flows and advise on measures to protect and conserve land use for for aquifer recharge, watershed protection and environmental needs.

He added that since one of the office’s main functions will be monitoring and assessing meteorological and climate conditions to assist with planning and decision-making, the Met Office will work closely with it. Responsibilities will be assigned to “various government ministries, departments, state agencies, tertiary-level institutions and NGOs.”

As for a physical location, he said said within this fiscal year, the office will be built north of the Piarco International Airport’s north terminal.

Other projects the ministry is working on, he said, include procuring a geostationary operational environmental satellite receiving system.

“Once installed, (it) would improve the reliability and accuracy of the meteorological information received and disseminated by the Met Office.”

In addition, the radar tower at Brasso Venado will be refurbished.

He said government aims to transform the entire water sector.